Bill McKay
McKay in New Zealand in 1950
Birth nameJames William McKay
Date of birth(1921-07-12)12 July 1921
Place of birthWaterford, Ireland
Date of death15 October 1997(1997-10-15) (aged 76)
Place of deathGisborne, New Zealand
SchoolColeraine Academy
UniversityQueen's University Belfast
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
? Queen's University RFC ()
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
British Lions

James William McKay (12 July 1921 – 15 October 1997) was an Irish rugby union player who played for Ireland, the British Lions and the Barbarians during the 1940s and 1950s.

Early life

McKay served during the Second World War, including with the Chindits unit.[1] He studied at Coleraine Academy and then the Queen's University, Belfast and played rugby for Queen's University RFC.[2]

Rugby career

McKay made his first appearance for Ireland opening match of the 1947 Five Nations Championship against France. He played in every one of Ireland's matches during the Championship, a feat which he repeated in Ireland's Grand Slam championship win in 1948 and their championship win and Triple Crown in 1949. He did likewise in 1950 and was selected for the British Lions team for their tour to New Zealand and Australia. McKay featured in all six Test matches during the tour, four against New Zealand and two against Australia. He also featured in nine other games during the tour against local opposition, scoring ten tries during the tour, the most of any forward.[3] He again featured in all four of Ireland's matches during the 1951 Five Nations Championship, which saw Ireland win their third championship in four years. His final game for Ireland came against France in January 1952. In total, McKay won 23 caps for Ireland.[4]

McKay twice played for Ulster against international opposition, against Australia in 1947 and South Africa in 1951. He also played three games for the Barbarians invitational team, against Cardiff RFC and Swansea RFC in 1948 and against East Midlands in 1951.[5]

Following completion of his studies at Queen's University, Belfast, McKay qualified as a doctor and decided to emigrate to New Zealand.[6]


  1. ^ "Ireland team of '55 back on duty". The Guardian. 30 March 2003. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Queen's Lions Kings". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Player Archive: Bill McKay". British & Irish Lions. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Player: Bill McKay". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Player Archive J.W. McKay". Barbarian Football Club. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Lions Legend: Bill McKay". British & Irish Lions. 11 April 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2017.